The 63rd Berlin Film Festival is to hand its Honorary Golden Bear to French documentary filmmaker Claude Lanzmann.
SBS Film

30 Nov 2012 - 8:01 AM  UPDATED 30 Nov 2012 - 8:01 AM

The 63rd Berlin Film Festival (February 7-17, 2013) is to hand its Honorary Golden Bear to French documentary filmmaker Claude Lanzmann (pictured). His work will also be celebrated with a retrospective of six of his titles, including the famous Shoah, a nine-and-a-half-hour-long film about the genocide of Europe's Jews, for which Lanzmann spent 12 years conducting research, interviewing its real actors, and visiting the real settings of its horrific events, that premiered in 1986 at the Berlinale Forum, as did several of his subsequent documentaries.

Lanzmann, who turned 87 this week, was a resistant, then studied philosophy in Paris and Berlin after the war. His work both as a journalist (he still heads the magazine Les Temps Modernes founded by Jean-Paul Sartre) and as a filmmaker has always followed the themes of antisemitism and political struggle for freedom. “Claude Lanzmann is one of the great documentarians, ” said Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick. “With his depictions of inhumanity and violence, of antisemitism and its consequences, he created a new kind of cinematic and ethical exploration. We are honoured to honour him.”

The other films to be screened as part of the Homage to Claude Lanzmann include: his very first film Israel, Why (1973), Tsahal (1994), his third film about men and women in the Israeli army that at the time was screened in the Berlinale's Forum, A Visitor from the Living (1999), an interview with a World War II Red Cross official who wrote a glowing report about the Theresienstadt concentration camp, Sobibór, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures (2001), a film that was screened at the Forum in 2002 and that has been chosen this year to accompany the Golden Bear award, and The Karski Report (2010).

Read more exclusive content on